17 October 2013 While there have been several noteworthy successes in the field of disarmament, there are still important areas where greater progress is needed, the President of the General Assembly told the United Nations committee tackling disarmament and international security issues today.
John Ashe cited recent achievements such as the adoption in April of the Arms Trade Treaty, the convening last month of the first ever high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament and the awarding last week of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“These many successes are laudable and noteworthy, and we justly celebrate over them,” he said in his remarks to a high-level meeting of the Assembly’s First Committee. “However, we must acknowledge that we continue to struggle in many areas.”
The revitalization process of the disarmament machinery is making only “limited progress,” and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has still not entered into force, he noted.
He went on to say that, in many regions of the world – including his own, the Caribbean – the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is both “a clear and present danger” and considered a significant threat to national and global peace and security.
“Not only do small arms facilitate a vast spectrum of human rights violations but they also exacerbate poverty, place heavy burdens on social and health care services which are already under severe stress, steal the innocence of our youth, inhibit access to social services and divert already limited resources away from efforts to improve human development and in so far as they are heavily connected to the trade in illegal drugs, they also represent a serious threat to national security and well being.
“Given the gravity of this issue and mindful of its impact on both human and economic development, I urge you to continue looking at how to make progress in this area,” he told the Committee.
“With this in mind, let me recall a truism: resources for economic and social development, not weapons. Access to social goods and services is predicated on the existence of peace and security.”
He added that peace and security form the overarching context for the pursuit of sustainable development goals.
“Without such an umbrella, our other pursuits are in vain. The pursuit of the instruments of war and violence do not create peace and most certainly do not engender development.”
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